Waitrose leads UK food rebound

20 August 2009

LONDON: The UK's grocery shoppers appear to be reverting to type as upmarket Waitrose, owned by the John Lewis Partnership, heads the latest sales increase data from TNS Worldpanel, while German-owned discounters Aldi and Lidl drop back.

Waitrose sales increased by 10.2% in the 12 weeks to August 9 while Aldi saw growth of 8.1% and Lidl 6.3%, far below the double-digit gains both retailers were showing late last year as the recession bit.

In a market still dominated by Tesco with 31%, Waitrose increased its market share from 3.7% to 3.9%, helped by its new budget Essentials range and the addition of a number of stores bought from Somerfield.

For its part, Tesco saw sales increase by 5%, below the sector average of 5.6%, leading to a further slip in its market share from 31.2% to 31%. In the past week it announced that it was to double the rewards in its Clubcard customer loyalty scheme, although it denied this was in response to gains made by its rivals.

Of these, second-placed company Asda, which is owned by Wal-Mart, increased its share from 16.7% to 17.2%, Sainsburys went from 15.6% to 15.9% and Morrisons improved from 11% to 11.4%.

One reason for the move away from the discounters may be the slowing pace of UK food price inflation. In the 12-week period covered by the data, food price inflation stood at 5.1% (still far ahead of the overall UK rate of inflation) in comparison to the 9.2% peak it hit last October.

Data sourced from TNS; additional content by WARC staff